Interview: Vancouver’s own ‘Precious Metal’ burlesque

Hey Strangekittens. Last week I sat down with one of Vancouver’s many awesome entertainers, Precious Metal!

Precious Metal is one of the most entertaining, friendly people i’ve ever met. Not many girls are this confident; Precious is practically brimming with it. Originally from Australia, she dived into Vancouver’s lively burlesque scene.

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SK: Burlesque is big in Vancouver. How did you get started?

PM: When I first moved to Vancouver I didn’t really know anyone so I was looking around at different classes to take that would be enjoyable, different, fun and so I could meet different people.  So I came across a burlesque class run by Fluffgirl Burlesque, tried it out and LOVED it.  I started looking around at more classes and came across Becoming Burlesque run by Screaming Chicken Threatical Society.  Did that class, found my calling and have been doing it every since.  I have been a member of Screaming Chickens since 2007.  I really do consider Screaming Chicken my family.

SK: So, you’re a Screaming Chicken. WTF is a Screaming Chicken and why does it have sparkly pasties?

PM: Screaming Chicken Theatrical Society is a Vancouver based, member run, not-for profit society established to produce and promote entertaining and innovative performing arts. Our goal is to make the performing arts more fun, provocative, empowering and accessible.We are part theatre company, part burlesque troupe, part advocacy group and part school. Our membership consists of friends and family members, performers of all stripes, techs, promoters and producers, writers and supporters of the arts

SK: I know you’re a confident girl but you must get stage fright occasionally. How do you handle it?

PM: Oh course I get stage fright at times.. after all I am human… I just remind myself that I am awesome and I can do anything.. seriously I have a ritual where I tell myself “I’m awesome, I’m awesome” the rest of it is basically training, practice and a little bit of luck.

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SK: You’re also a buxom lady but that doesn’t stop you from rocking out onstage, has it ever posed an issue to you? 

PM: Honestly no..I know who I am, I love who I am and I love showing people exactly who I am.  There are days where I feel I am not worth it (again I am human) but honestly Vancouver LOVES its Burlesque and its burlesque dancers of all shapes and sizes… I have accepted who I am and I LOVE it.  My theory is if you don’t like me, your loss.

SK:(And trust me kittens, she embodies it to perfection)

SK: Burlesque definitely celebrates women of all types, and Screaming Chicken is definitely a varied group. How do you manage the issues women bring up in the troupe?

PM: The great thing about having such a wonderful burlesque family is when anyone has an issue with body confidence or any other issue, there are plenty of people to listen and help.  I find a lot of newbies have issues sometimes of bearing it all. But thats one of my jobs as stage manager to remind them that they are awesome, and will rock it like everyone else.

SK: What’s it like being on stage? Do you ever get scared that someone might react badly? Burlesque can be a bit polarizing among women. Some think it’s empowering, some think you’re the same as strippers. What do you think about that?

PM: For me being on stage is so unbelievable.   I think its very empowering for me and the audience to watch burlesque.. any woman of any shape, size, colour or whatever is always accepted and can rock out that stage.  I have had so many women (and men) come up to me and other performers after their show saying how great to see real women being sexy.  Now I don’t know what a “real woman” is but I love hearing that people appreciate the art form and my performance.

SK: On that note, how does performing make you feel, and why do you do it? Not everyone is cut out for the stage life! (I did theatre when I was younger, but i’d be a bad celeb!)

PM: I don’t think there are any words to describe how I feel.  Its fun, exciting, twisted and amazing.  Honestly, it’s like a happy drug that I have to have over and over again. I do it because I love the excitement of coming up with a new number, performing it in front of an audience and showing people just how awesome I really am haha.  And I think that yes, not everyone is cut out for the stage life BUT everyone should do it at least once.

SK: Agreed. What has been the best experience you’ve had in performing?

PM: Definitely being on stage in Las Vegas for the Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend in 2010 competing for Best Group with my fellow Screaming Chickens.  We didn’t win but the experience was certainly a win for me.

SK: And, what was the scariest?

PM: I dont think I have had the worst except for a wardrobe malfunction, Janet Jackson style. 

SK: Oops! I’ve met a fair number of burlesque girls, and they’re all so different. What do you think attract people to it as a performer?

PM: Honestly I can’t say for other performers but for me it’s because I love being the center of attention, I love the tease and I love coming up with ideas that I can bring to life on stage.

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SK: I’m the same way with my photos. Did performing help with your confidence in yourself?

PM: Yes it did.  I mean by the time I started performing I was already very confident and accepting of myself.  I spent years building that up after a dark period in my life and burlesque has just helped me spread the word that “I am here and I am amazing”

SK: What would you suggest to people interested in burlesque dancing?

PM: Take up a class or two.  Screaming Chicken still does their Becoming Burlesque classes and the Vancouver Burlesque Centre also runs classes to learn all aspects of burlesque.  But as well as classes, speak to your favourite performer and ask them about it.  Many performers in this city will do one on one classes, also go to shows and see what others are doing. Learn from that.

SK: So, onto a slightly different subject. I heard you’re a fellow coupon clipper too. Got any tips for us mere mortals?

PM: Two very important notes here.. If you watch Extreme Couponing on TV thinking you can get thousands of dollars of groceries for free you are wrong.  Remember, its a TV show which is fake.  You can’t get those kinds of deals here in Canada.  I watch the show merely for inspiration not for reality.

(SK: Manufacturer’s coupons can be awesome, and many of them send free samples if you ask!)

PM: Second, keep at it and you will see results.  Remember even if you save one dollar at the grocery store, that’s one dollar in your pocket and not theirs.  The savings do add up and do show.  I have saved about 1/3 off my grocery bill in the past couple of months.

(SK: Wow! Quite a chunk here in Vancouver)

SK: I know you go back home fairly often, and last time you bought me a giant jar of Vegemite. I can get Tim-Tams here too, but what do you really miss about Oz (apart from family of course)?

PM: The little things really.  Like potato cakes from the Fish n’ Chip shop, Fredo Frogs chocolate bars, Christmas bbq for breakfast in the warm weather, pubs open to 5am, Aussie rules football…those kinds of things.

(SK: I miss summer BBQ Xmas too!)

SK: Do you find the Canadians are different from Australians? I lived in Oz myself for 8yrs, and it definitely was a culture shock coming here. Considerably less swearing!

PM: Well I find the same amount of swearing Aussies and Kiwis use more slang, so it doesn’t sound as part to other haha.. But yes big culture shock, but I find Vancouver is very much similar to Melbourne.  Guess that’s why I like it do much.. but generally the people are the same.

SK: I came from Brisbane, it’s definitely a more tropical, summery surfer city!

I really enjoyed talking and shooting with Precious Metal. I hope you like the interview guys!

Check out her website here: http://www.preciousmetalburlesque.com/

Or hit her up on FB: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Precious-Metal/66639086284

-Dannielle

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